Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs, which is characterized by airflow obstruction and bronchospasms. Glabridin is a major flavonoid, especially found in root of Glycyrrhiza glabra, and has several pharmacological activities, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The anti-asthmatic effect and possible mechanism of glabridin, however, have not been revealed so far. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects and possible mechanisms of glabridin against ovalbumin (OVA)-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and inflammation in mice. In male BALB/c mice, asthma was induced by intraperitoneal (i.p) injection of OVA mixed with 2 mg aluminium hydroxide on days 0, 14 and boosted with OVA aerosol challenge on days 21, 22, and 23. Mice were either treated with dexamethasone (i.p, 1 mg/kg) or glabridin (10, 20, and 30 mg/kg) from days 18-23. Pulmonary function parameters such as peak inspiratory flow, peak expiratory flow, tidal volume, expiratory volume, the frequency of breathing, enhanced pause values were evaluated by using whole-body plethysmography. Measurements were performed at baseline and following methacholine (50 mg/mL) challenges. In addition, white blood cells (WBC) count, total protein, and IgE levels were measured in bronchial alveolar lavage fluid (BALF), lung, and serum, respectively. Glabridin (20 or 30 mg/kg) significantly attenuated (p < 0.05) OVA-induced alteration in respiratory parameters. Elevated counts of total WBC, differential WBC (neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, and eosinophils) in BALF and the total protein in lungs and BALF were significantly decreased (p < 0.05) by glabridin (20 or 30 mg/kg). It also significantly attenuated the increased serum IgE levels (p < 0.05). As glabridin reduces the level of serum IgE, the total protein and the count of WBC and improves respiratory function, it may be a novel therapeutic agent in asthma.
Keywords: Asthma; Glabridin; Ovalbumin; Plethysmography.
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